Deciding to move in with your partner can be a daunting task. You might be one of those people who likes to wing it and figure it out as you go, or you might stay up all night worrying that your partner will turn out to be a horrible roommate. Either way, before you start packing, here are 10 things that you and your partner should agree on prior to moving in together.
Why move in together?
It’s a simple question, but a lot of couples forget to talk about it. Maybe you’re looking to spend more time together, but she sees it as a way to save on rent. Or he sees this as the next step towards marriage, but you don’t want to get hitched just yet. Talk this out with your partner and make sure you’re on the same page before you proceed. This is actually a super important step because it’s a great way to tell if you have the same goals going into it.
This is a big one. Who’s in charge of the budget? How will you split up the basic household costs like dish soap and toilet paper? Do you want to take turns paying for rent, or both pitch in every month? It’s also a good idea to talk about spending habits at this point. Which one of you spends more money? How will that affect both of you in the long term? Figuring out the money issues now can save you a lot of stress in the future.
How to handle conflict.
No matter how happy your relationship feels, sooner or later, you’ll come up against some rough patches. It’s important that you know how your partner handles stress, annoyance, and anger, so if they’re upset, you don’t accidentally make the situation worse. Of course, some things won’t really show until you’ve been living together for a while. But when you’re both calm, try to sit down and have a conversation about how you handle conflict. Maybe you prefer to hash things out, while your partner wants to avoid conflict at all costs. If you know that going into it, you’ll be able to lay out some boundaries and figure out the best way to communicate with each other.
Who cooks dinner, washes the dishes, and takes out the trash? There are several ways that you and your partner could split the chores. You might prefer to divvy up the chores once and stick with it. (For example, your boyfriend cleans the shower, and you always take out the trash.) Or you might take turns doing different chores. As long as you and your partner are on the same page, there’s really no right or wrong answer here. Just make sure that the chores are divided evenly, so nobody feels like they’re doing all the work.
Fluffy and Fido.
Maybe you have a pet already, or you can’t wait to move in with your boyfriend and his three French bulldogs. Maybe you don’t have any pets, but you’ve always wanted to own a cat. Of course, this is something both of you should agree on. If pets are already in the mix, who walks the dog? Who scoops the litter box? Does the pet remain one person’s responsibility? And what about future furbabies? Even if you and your girlfriend are both huge animal lovers, you’ll have to find a balance that works for you, your landlord, and your financial situation.
Holidays and religion.
Some people say this is more of an optional issue, in my experience, it’s best to make sure your expectations for religious observances are clear. If your boyfriend follows the same religion (or lack of religion) as you, double-check how he celebrates holidays or other religious days. While this might not be make-or-break, it’s certainly helpful to know if your S.O. expects you to attend religious services with them every week, or if you expect to invite everyone over for a giant Halloween party.
If you and your boyfriend are both introverts, this is something you probably won’t have any issues with. However, it’s still good to go over your personal boundaries when it comes to guests. Should you give 24 hours notice before bringing friends over? How many friends can come over at once? How about family: are you okay with hosting his parents when they come to visit? Again, just some simple ground rules and open communication can save you a lot of confusion and frustration later on.
Slightly different from the guests topic but just as important. How often do you need some alone time to yourself? How often does your partner? Most introverts will do best if they have at least an hour of time by themselves every day, just so they can recharge. If you are an introvert and your partner is an extrovert, this topic is especially important. You don’t want your partner to feel like you’re ignoring them, and vice versa.
Relationship coaches say that before moving in together, couples should agree on how often they want to have sex. Again, communication is key. This is just one of those things that you and your partner should talk about, so you can make sure you’re both on the same page.
While nobody likes to think about unhappy endings, it’s smart to think about all the possible outcomes. What happens if you split? Who gets what? If pets are involved, will you continue to have “pet visitations” so you can say hi to the furbabies? By thinking about all the possible outcomes, you’ll be able to come to an agreement that protects both your things and theirs in case of a breakup. However, with luck and a bit of hard work, hopefully you’ll never need to use this step!
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